Starweek Magazine

The MSO hails titans and kings

The Philippine Star
The MSO hails titans and kings

MANILA, Philippines — The Manila Symphony Orchestra (MSO) recently launched its season concert series for 2018-2019, dubbed Year of the Titans, back to back with a Rush Hour Concert honoring National Artist for Music Lucrecia “Tita King” Kasilag at the Ayala Museum.

A regular program at the Ayala Museum, the Rush Hour Concerts have become one of the popular events for audiences around the Makati area hoping to drown out the cacophony of rush hour traffic with some entertaining music.

For its celebration of the 100th birth anniversary and 10th death anniversary of Kasilag, the MSO tackled some of the national artist’s diverse and unique pieces including the seldom-heard Violin Concerto No. 1 performed by MSO concertmaster Gina Medina-Perez and Divertissement for Piano and Orchestra performed by pianist Ingrid Sala Santamaria. The MSO was also the orchestra to perform Divertissement when it was first premiered.

Entitled East-West, the concert also featured Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2 performed by the indefatigable Santamaria.

The first violin section of the Manila Symphony Orchestra

This year, the MSO will feature the Manila Symphony Junior Orchestra (MSJO) as part of their Rush Hour series (June 14 and Sept. 6). The MSJO, a youth orchestra made up of talented young musicians ages 8 to 18 years old, will soon be conquering Europe as they vie for the top prize in the Summa Cum Laude International Youth Festival in Vienna, Austria. Last year, the group won second place, competing against other youth orchestras from around the world.

The MSO will also be featuring internationally-acclaimed singer Andion Fernandez (Aug. 9) and its popular program, Soundtracks and Symphonies (Nov. 8) as part of their Rush Hour Concert offerings.

As for its season concert series, the MSO continues to innovate with its program selection. Its season opener, The Color of Music, on June 3 at the Theatre at Solaire, features Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, where the listeners are led through a hall, stopping and contemplating at each painting – all painted through music. MSO artistic director and principal conductor Prof. Arturo Molina also selected Wagner’s dark and dramatic Tristan und Isolde Prelude and Liebestod. The performance will be graced by eminent German cellist Claus Kanngiesser who will be playing Dvorak’s Cello Concerto.

On July 29, the MSO presents a unique program, Rockestra 2018, a fusion of rock and classical music, featuring rock guitarist Noli Aurillo and top OPM band Silent Sanctuary. Though the MSO has been known to collaborate with several pop and rock bands, and even DJs, it is the first time for the orchestra to highlight this in its concert season.

The MSO brass section. Photo by Jama Ramos

On Sept. 16, the MSO will mount Silver Screen Symphonies, featuring the music of John Barry – known for his work on James Bond films including the James Bond theme, Goldfinger and Diamonds are Forever; and Bernard Herrmann, who composed music for Taxi Driver and Psycho, among others.

Singaporean guest conductor Darrell Ang and German-Indonesian violinist Iskandar Widjaja – long-time collaborators of the MSO – will be back in Manila for Beethoven Redux on Nov. 30. The virtuso violinist will be performing Beethoven’s Violin Concerto not once but twice: the first time in the original and then with a new solo part composed by Jeffrey Ching. The world premiere is one of many that the MSO has brought to the stage throughout the years.

The Year of the Titans is capped by season finale, The Titan, featuring Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 “Titan” together with Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major with US-based Filipino pianist Victor Asuncion, under the baton of Molina.

The MSO’s concert season underscores the orchestra’s commitment to bringing the best of Filipino and international talent to Philippine audiences, presenting classical music in a fresh, innovative way.

(left)German cellist Claus Kanngiesser will perform with the orchestra on June 3. (Right) Artistic director and principal conductor Prof. Arturo Molina Photo by Jama Ramos

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For more information, call 523-5712 or email [email protected]. Tickets are available at www.ticketworld.com.ph or 891-9999.

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